Drop the beat, not expensive equipment, with Openmix

From the mixtape maker to the part-time party planner, everyone has an inner DJ just begging to mix songs together to make people smile and dance. But DJ equipment is expensive, large, and difficult to set up, so it’s no good for the impromptu get-together.

Openmix is the world’s smallest audio mixer, roughly the size of an iPod Mini. It has microphone jack plugs to connect to phones or MP3 players and controlled via the small dial fader on the front of the device. Openmix also features a third port for input, allowing a tablet or simple synthesizer to be connected to provide sound effects or other audio options. This allows devices to be swapped in and out easily, allowing for an ever-changing library and selection of tracks to be at the fingertip of the Openmix user.

In terms of features, that’s where Openmix really stops. It’s not meant for professional grade mixing or complicated techniques, it’s just something that can take a party from the groundswells to the dance floor. Openmix is a device built around fun, and so it’s simple enough for anyone to use and flex their DJ skills with before passing it along. Invented by New Yorker Gabriel Danet, it’s going to take $65,000 to bring Openmix out of the functional prototype stage and into full production and availability. Party people can lay down tracks with Openmix in January 2015 for $34.

Does Openmix fill a need in the market, or revolutionize its industry? Certainly not, but with its presentation, price point, and feature set, it’s clear that Openmix is just about accessible fun and sharing music. When viewed in that light, there’s no reason not to have an Openmix on hand just in case.

Music Tech Accessories

Brick and Bullet make Mac-based music simple and clear

The Premise. The performance stage has changed for musicians in the last few years, as many performers are finding it easier to just connect their equipment through a MacBook and play through AirPlay. However, going beyond what AirPlay was designed to support can cause a wealth of problems, certainly not the least of which is lag between the performance and the outputted audio.

The Product. Really two separate products, the Brick is a Mac mini-like Ethernet switch designed for professional digital audio that can connect to instruments, mixers, amps, and more, bringing it all together to be controlled with a single application. The Bullet is an adapter to connect audio jack-controlled instruments to Ethernet devices like the Brick, bridging analog and digital. The Brick and Bullet setup is natively supported by and MacOS device running Mavericks, including MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, or iMac.

The Pitch., creators of the Brick and Bullet, demonstrate the difference between using AirPlay with an AirPort Express and using a Brick through simply playing the keyboard. It can be almost painful waiting for the sound to come out after each of the keys is hit on the former setup, but with the Brick the two are simultaneous. While the technology behind the Brick and Bullet is certainly a little more than just end user-level stuff, the campaign for the Brick and Bullet keeps things simple and straight to the point, perfect for performers who just want to know if the device will fix their issues. has set its goal at $35,000, largely to finish development of the Bullet.

The Perks. The Brick Ethernet switch will launch in September 2014 and backers who pledge $300 can get their hands on one. For those that want to get the complete rig for live digital audio, a Brick with two Bullets is available at the $850 tier in November, and the set can be custom engraved for $1,500.

The Potential. For performers, adding a Brick and Bullet setup to the stage can certainly make things easier to handle DIY digital audio. For a similar price however, it’s not too much to expect to be able to set things up using a standard analog setup with amps and cables. If it’s digital or bust, then there’s certainly nothing wrong with picking up these items to get the most out of a simple MacBook-style performance setup.

Food and Beverage

Kickstick mixes a bottle and straw for imbibing fun

KickstickMost people have no trouble drinking shots or mixed drinks, but in case you’ve ever run into trouble, try Kickstick. This versatile product is a mini liquor or energy drink holder. By removing the bottom, the drinker can shoot whatever is in the tube or easily mix the liquid into another drink. The top functions as a straw and makes it easy to drink on the go. Kickstick is perfect for frat bros or college students who need to get liquor into their bodies even faster than normal. The fun but brazen campaign doesn’t say this, so we will… drink responsibly. One of these receptacles costs backers $25 with a delivery date of July 2014. Kickstick needs to raise $10,000 in its 30-day campaign.


LineShark lets musicians jack in to their smartphones nearly anywhere

LineSharkMusicians looking to create music outside of the studio now only need their mobile phone and the LineShark. This portable audio interface works with both Android and iOS products and provides a way for any musician to plug any instrument into it to begin creating effects or simply recording unique sounds. Somewhat similar to the MixerFace, the LineShark is designed to be in the center of the action and enhance your musical performance without hindering it. One LineShark goes for $100 at a special early-bird price with an estimated delivery date of July 2014. In its 45-day Kickstarter campaign, LineShark is looking to raise $60,000.